Whutta Great Idea!

Later, tomorrow, whenever, I’ll post my monday blog. Until then…stolen* from The Burg:

Design team’s humor, spirit captured in their creations.
by Peter Durantine — The Burg, Aug2010 Issue, page 8

Whutta Design pondering their next inspiration.

Whutta Design pondering their next inspiration

While you may not know Bob Ford or Amber Topper, you more than likely know their work—remember those blue and beige Sparky & Clark’s Roasting Co. & Coffee Bar signs at the former shops on 2nd and 3rd streets?

That was Whutta Design, Ford and Topper’s company. Located on Walnut Street, across from the city’s main library, Whutta Design has been crafting advertising, logos, brochures, magazines and websites for 16 years. Their most recent logo design is for the 2011 Keystone State Games.

Ford started the company in York and gave it the name Whutta Design instead of, what is often the case, naming it after himself. Ford Design just didn’t ring right to him.

“I’ve always felt that was a little egotistical,” he said. “I wanted to focus on the work itself.”

Five years ago, after significant growth from a clientele that spans locally, regionally and nationally, Topper became his partner. One of their not-so-familiar ad/logos for a Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau campaign was “You gotta love the Burg.” Picture 1

The concept came about one day after observing the antics and odd behavior sometimes seen in passersby on downtown streets, which prompted Topper to offhandedly remark, “You gotta love the Burg.”

The slogan was a hit with the visitor’s bureau and city officials, but budget constraints halted the campaign—for now at least.

Their creativity is juiced in so many ways, such as playing cards or shooting pool or “just going for a drive or a walk,” Topper said.

The easy-going duo fuse their work with fun, whether they’re creating a brand for a company or designing a state necktie, which they did for former Gov. Tom Ridge.

“That was one of the weirdest, oddest projects we’ve worked on,” Ford said. “We get a lot of freedom
to do what we’re doing.”

Long-haired with glasses, Ford has an affable manner that complements Topper’s positive, energetic attitude. “Life is too short to be uptight about stuff,” Ford said.

It shows in their work. Take this ad for a pet resort: “Countryside surroundings, classical dinner music,
and a biscuit if you go wee-wee outside.”

Ford’s career path started in design. He graduated York Vo-Tech’s industrial arts program and worked in AT&T’s marketing department in Hunt Valley, Md., later graduating from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He worked for a printer, but wanted more design work. He went freelance and soon after started Whutta Design.

Topper, who attended Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in Lancaster, met Ford in 2006. At the time, he had partnered with another agency, and she was the first art director they hired.

Creative differences ended the partnership, but Ford re-launched Whutta Design and Topper joined as partner. “We clicked right away in our approach to developing creative, as well as working with clients in a partnership way,” he said.

For Ford and Topper, brainstorming ideas for a client begins with absorbing information about the subject. “If it’s a new client, we tend to throw ourselves into research and learn everything we can about them,” he said.

It’s a team effort, they say, and building relationships with clients, while also providing them quality service and product, is the key to their success as a company. “If we can make our client successful, that reverts back to us,” Ford said.

whuttaWhutta Design
114 Walnut St.


*stolen = borrowed, complete with proper credit =)

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